With great power comes great responsibility

The more you have, the more you have to do. This doesn’t just apply to big world leaders and people that we usually think of as being responsible for others. This applies to everyone. I have recently realised this as a home-owner.

When I was a student, living in a rented flat; life was easy. The place was small and easy to maintain. The only person I was responsible for and cleaning up after, was me. I longed for a garden, but after killing two bonsai trees, my little herb tray in the window was about all the greenery I could cope with. When something broke, you called the landlord or the rental agency and it was for them to sort out. I never lived in one place long enough for any serious maintenance.

Now, I have my garden and I can never find enough time to keep it looking nice. The house is in dire need of some serious fixing. With two dogs, two kids and a husband (albeit a fairly well house-trained one!) nothing ever seems to stay clean. It’s not just the sand that gets traipsed in from outside, or the crumbs or the spillage. There seems to be things everywhere! Toys, cups, wine glasses, keys…and there is no way to dust efficiently with all this clutter.

The more money you have, the more things you have to spend it on, and it’s just never enough. And life has a way of reminding us of this all too often.

This morning the Cape of Storms really lived up to its name! The rain was pelting down and the wind howled. It was so bad that after the dog asked to go out, she turned around on the doorstep three times before deciding that she really did need to go and have a wee.

Where I would normally kick the dogs out of the house when I leave in the morning, I felt really sorry for them and left them snugly in their beds instead. I very nearly called the boy’s play school to tell them that he would not be coming today because his mother is not getting out of her bed! And it might have been better for my state of mind!

On the way back, standing in the traffic I notice a movement to my right. It is a homeless man. His clothes are drenched and the little bag of what is possibly all his earthly belongings is dripping with water. He is visibly shaking; so much in fact, that his crutch is slipping in the mud. My heart aches. “What can I do?What can I do? What can I do?” But I end up doing nothing as I am on a treacherous bend in the road and stopping would probably cause more problems than anything else at this particular point in time.

This is obviously not a bad person. He is not a drug dealer or a burglar, otherwise he would not be outside in this weather. He is just someone who has had some bad luck somewhere in his life and now has no-one to look out for him. I really hate that bad things happen to good people. All. The. Time.

The image haunts me as I drive to my nice warm, dry house with a hot shower, an electric kettle, and cupboards stocked with everything I need to get me through this stormy day. I am so grateful for all that I have.

I volunteer; I give my time back to society. But when is it enough? Is there nothing more that I can do? Should I be giving all my worldly goods away? But what then of my children? I have to scrape together and hoard  and save as much as I possibly can to make sure that they have everything they need. It’s easy to give away things when they only affect me, but it becomes a whole lot harder to be spending  money and giving away things when it will have a potential impact on their future.

When do we that have a lot give enough? Where is the balance? How do you know if you’re giving and doing enough? For it really is our responsibility to take care of those who cannot do so for themselves…

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